Watching Art Emerge

My latest art endeavor has been to let the art lead the way. It is very freeing. Starting with no preconceived notion of what I want to create and waiting for images to appear. It fascinates me to see a finished product, and to take in everything that has shown itself to me. It makes me wonder, how do the images relate to me? How is it that those particular people showed up in the art? How did they get so interwoven with each other? 

The process is a meditative journey, and the end result draws me deeper in, wondering about that journey that took place somewhere in my subconscious mind. It really is magical.

When you look at the modern-day totems that keep presenting themselves to me you see one thing, and then you see another. It’s almost like an optical illusion, with your mind not being able to hold onto one image before it shifts into the next.

For someone who loves eyes, these are a perfect expression for me. I count 30 eyes. Thirty-three if you count sunglasses. Thirty-four if you count 1/2 sunglasses. And there were four more that didn’t make the cut.

WIP – The Purple Page

This is an art journal page that I started a long time ago. Acrylic paint and paint pen on watercolor paper. As you can see, it’s gotten overly busy. I love my detail, yes I do. But, it doesn’t make for a very grabbing finished design without some kind of frame, and the border isn’t defining enough.

I’ve looked at this page over and over. There are elements I really like, and some, not so much. I’m not really fond of the purple and yellow either. I kept putting it away and coming back to it. I gathered up my courage and just went for it…blacking out some of the areas that weren’t as exciting to me. Once again I realized that once I get started, it starts to take on a life of it’s own.

I was really pleased with the bold black areas that I added, and I decided to call it a night. My friend, Chris, pointed out that it looked like a silhouette in the middle and I thought, YES! I did not see that when looking at the actual piece but it’s pretty obvious in the photo. I highly recommend taking a photo of your work to gain a new perspective.

I came back the next day, ready to tackle the face in the middle and again, I was paralyzed. I didn’t want to mess it up. So, once again I pushed past my comfort zone and dove in, knowing that it will all unfold as it should, and if it didn’t, I still had plenty of black paint to start again.

I liked it! But then thought, “I can’t just leave all that black there!” So I set out again, and think I took it one step too far. The new detail, shown below, took away from the impact of the vivid black. As did the white colored pencil shading I did. Boo.

And if that weren’t enough, I even took it a step further and started to add color to those new plank shapes that I added. Ugh. I’m going to keep going with it because, well, you never know. And yes, always the painting over it with black to fall back on. I’ll keep you updated, if you’d like to follow along. One of these days I might feel done.

I do love the feel of the paper as the layers accumulate. It starts to feel leathery. I also think that the previous layers do show through, even though you can’t really see them. I don’t know how to put that into words, but you sense it when you see it in person.

 

This Adult Coloring Thing

I think I’m starting to get it, and realizing that coloring can be viewed as an art form in itself. All of you purists out there, don’t balk. And I’m not digging into the art vs. craft argument either, but as usual, when I’m working at something that allows me to go into the zone, awarenesses happen.

Without trying it, I didn’t understand the interest in coloring someone else’s designs. I’m excited to get my books published so I can color in them, but even coloring on my home-printed copy of the images, I’m finding an artistic outlet.

Mandala Adult Coloring Image

Yesterday I started coloring this image from soon-to-be Meditative Mandalas Volume 1. I used flat markers and took my time going at it. As I got closer to finishing the main design elements I found myself antsy to be able to get on to the background and shading.

I pulled out my Prismacolor pencils and started, then did basic shadows. I found myself wanting to layer more color for more depth and then thinking, “This is a piece of printer paper, not even good quality, what am I doing spending so much time on this???” It reminded me that art is in the eye of the beholder, or something like that. It’s not about what it is, but how it makes you feel.

I felt relaxed, letting my mind drift while streaming my favorite Chicago radio station. I felt accomplished, filling in all those little areas so precisely. I felt artistic, pulling out shading techniques. It reminded me also that I need more time to just sit and do something that isn’t work. Something that has no tangible purpose, something that will keep me in the present moment.

It doesn’t matter what the outcome is. It matters what you’re doing and how it makes you feel in the moment. It’s a weird thing, presence. When you’re fully present you feel like a master. You feel in tune. Nothing else matters. It’s when we start thinking, that we start to feel bad about what we’re doing, or how it’s going. It’s hard to stay in the present moment but I have a feeling that this coloring thing might have the same effect as meditation. The more you do it and the more you achieve that state of just being with it, the more it will spill over into the rest of your life. I bet if I’d read all of the articles that have been floating around about the adult coloring craze that it would say the same thing. I don’t have time for that…I’m busy coloring!

I get it.